Syrian rebels have left the last areas they held in Aleppo’s old city, while calling for a five-day truce to allow the evacuation of civilians. State media confirmed the military had taken over the whole of the old city. Government forces now control about 75% of eastern Aleppo, held by the rebels for the past four years. The rebels, who had been left with just a spit of land north-east of the citadel after recent government advances, abandoned it by Wednesday morning, retreating to territory they still hold further south.
Syrian rebels on Monday ruled out a pullout from east Aleppo, despite sweeping advances by pro-government units. The Syrian army has now seized two-thirds of east Aleppo and continued to advance on Monday, pounding remaining territory held by anti-goverrnment forces. Earlier, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Moscow would hold talks with Washington this week on a timeframe for the withdrawal of all rebels from Aleppo. Both officials said rebels remained willing to approve a UN plan for the entry of humanitarian aid into the east, which has been besieged by government forces since mid-July. The assault has raised an international outcry and the UN Security Council was due to vote later Monday on a draft resolution – drawn up by Egypt, New Zealand and Spain – for a seven-day ceasefire in the city and humanitarian access to residents trapped by the fighting. But Lavrov appeared to torpedo that move, suggesting Moscow might use its veto to block the resolution.”The draft resolution… is, for the most part, a provocative step that undermines Russian-American efforts,” he told a press conference.
Syrian rebels in besieged east Aleppo have agreed to a U.N. plan for aid delivery and medical evacuations, but the United Nations is awaiting a green light from Russia and the Syrian government, humanitarian adviser Jan Egeland said on Thursday. “We do now have written approval in principle by the armed opposition groups of east Aleppo,” he told reporters, specifying that he was referring to rebels with whom the U.N. is in contact – and do not include former Nusra Front militants. “We have verbal support also from the Russian Federation on our four-point plan. We need written support and we need unconditional support also from Russia and we are still waiting for the answer from the government of Syria”, he added.